Purpose: Grounded in the theoretical concepts of utilitarianism and deontology, this paper aims to evaluate the issue of child labour from an ethics perspective. By linking utilitarianism with normative stakeholder theory, relevant stakeholder groups are being identified in order to examine their influence on and role in the occurrence of child labour allowing for a practical reference. The findings may serve companies in particular as a basis for decision-making in the development of their value chains. Design/Methodology/Approach: The author uses a literature review in order to analyze the findings of existing literature on the topic of child labour in an ethics context, thereby drawing on literature, indexed in Web of Science and Google Scholar by employing forward and backward citation analysis. Findings: The investigation of child labour in terms of ethics yields conflicting results. From a deontological perspective, child labour can never be ethical and should always be rejected as it is not wanted to become a general law. In contrast, according to a utilitarian sentiment, child labour is ethically justifiable as long as the beneficiaries of the labour are greater in number than the children working or suffering. Originality/Value: The examination of child labour from the perspective of deontology and utilitarianism in conjunction with normative stakeholder theory constitutes a novelty in the ethics literature. The integration of theoretical findings into a practical business context provides additional value for managers and global supply chain managers.
Blanchett, W.J. and Shealey, M.W. (2013) Responding to the Needs of Ethnically and Culturally Diverse Learners with Exceptionalities and Their Families. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 13, 1-3.
UNCRC (1989) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unicef UK.
Wiredu, K. (2008) Social Philosophy in Postcolonial Africa: Some Preliminaries Concerning Communalism and Communitarianism. South African Journal of Philosophy, 27, 332-339. https://doi.org/10.4314/sajpem.v27i4.31522
Gray, K. and Schein, C. (2012) Two Minds vs. Two Philosophies: Mind Perception Defines Morality and Dissolves the Debate between Deontology and Utilitarianism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 3, 405-423.
Von Ebert, T. (1976) Kants kategorischer Imperativ und die Kriterien gebotener, verbotener und freigestellter Handlungen. Kant-Studien, 67.
Chen, J.C. and Roberts, R.W. (2010) Toward a More Coherent Understanding of the Organization-Society Relationship: A Theoretical Consideration for Social and Environmental Accounting Research. Journal of Business Ethics, 97, 651-665.
Manda, D.K., Kimalu, P.K., Nafula, N.N., Kimani, D.N., Nyaga, R.K., Mutua, J.M., Mwabu, G. and Kimenyi, M.S. (2003) Costs and Benefits of Eliminating Child Labour in Kenya. Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, Nairobi.
Potter, C. and Lupilya, A.C. (2016) “You Have Hands, Make Use of Them!” Child Labour in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Tanzania. Journal of International Development, 28, 1013-1028. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3245
Harari, R., Forastiere, F. and Axelson, O. (1997) Unacceptable “Occupational” Exposure to Toxic Agents among Children in Ecuador. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 23, 185-190.
Shumetie, A. and Mamo, K. (2019) Effect of Cropland and Livestock Ownership on Child Labour in Eastern Ethiopia: Empirical Examination of the Wealth Paradox. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 13, Article 5.
Carroll, A.B. and Shabana, K.M. (2010) The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12, 85-105. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2009.00275.x
Ballet, J., Bhukuth, A. and Carimentrand, A. (2014) Child Labor and Responsible Consumers: From Boycotts to Social Labels, Illustrated by the Indian Hand-Knotted Carpet Industry. Business & Society, 53, 71-104.
Chakraborty, K. and Chakraborty, B. (2018) Low Level Equilibrium Trap, Unemployment, Efficiency of Education System, Child Labour and Human Capital Formation. Journal of Economics, 125, 69-95.
Donaldson, T. and Dunfee, T.W. (1995) Integrative Social Contracts Theory: A Communitarian Conception of Economic Ethics. Economics and Philosophy, 11, 85-112.
Amnesty International (2016) “This Is What We Die for” Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt.